Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Is Marriage?

Marriage isn't about children or genitals, 
it's about love, companionship, support in hard times, friendship and going on trips together; 

eating out in a nice restaurant, and cooking chili on a winter evening, 
when the snow lays heavy on the earth; 

going to the movies, doing some gardening together, adopting a child perhaps, visiting a nursing home, changing a flat tire for the other, wearing sexy aftershave, pinching one another, telling crazy jokes, singing together after two drinks, 

planning a dinner party, going to the movies, reading books together, 
having a spat now and then, and sometimes a first-class argument, 
and working it through and making up to one another with apologies for hardheadedness;

it's all about life together, the long-haul, the journey of days and nights, 
wonderful times and terrible times ... life and death ... 
to love and to cherish, in the best and worst of times. 

This is a human thing, something grand and beautiful, that always tries and tests the best in us, bringing us to a better place than yesterday, and sometimes revealing to us how crappy we are and how lousy we can be. 

So it is in the world of cabbages and kings ... to travel with the companion of our life, our best friend and oftentimes counselor, our spouse! To the glory of God and the wonder of life.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Prayers of the People, January 27, 2013

Prayers of the People, January 27, 2013

God of grace and God of glory,
On Your people pour Your pow'r;
Crown Your ancient Church’s story;
Bring its bud to glorious flow'r.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
For the facing of this hour …

O LORD our God, great is your name.
And greatly to be praised.

All glory, worship and honor to you.
Forever and forever.
World without end.

To you, dear God, we turn in praise and prayer.
Because every prayer offered is well-received at heaven’s gate:
Every tear and every fear.
Every shattered dream and every dim hope.
Our lives, just as they are.
Torn and tattered though they be.
Full of confusion and sorrow.
Uncertain about the day and fearful of the night.
But in your light, we see light.
By your mercy, all is made new. 
In your grace, love abounds and life goes on.

As always, LORD, we pray for those near and dear to us … our children … our grandchildren … brothers and sisters … aunts and uncles … nephews and nieces ...

We pray for friends and neighbors …

For the sick, O LORD, we pray for healing.
For the the dying, O LORD, we pray for peace.

For those troubled by their past, we pray for release.
For those burdened with hatred and animosity, we pray for brighter days and and better feelings.
For those who have suffered great loss, we pray for encouragement and opportunity.

For those who want to be more than they are, we pray for courage and determination.
For those who dream of a better world, we pray for their blessing.

For those who lead nations, we pray for wisdom.
We pray for President Zuma of South Africa …
For King Mswati of Swaziland …
For President Nieto of Mexico …

O LORD our God, we pray for people of faith and vision … who dream the dreams of peace and prosperity … who dream of a world set free from tyranny and the gods of mammon and desire.

Bless us, we pray, with kindness of heart … and gentleness of spirit …

Where our love is weak, O God, give us the greater love of Jesus …

Where courage fails us, grant us the courage of others to inspire us to try again …

Where we are frightened, dear God, remind us that we are yours, that nothing can separate us from your love given so freely in Christ Jesus our LORD.

Bless us, we pray, that we might be the salt of the earth and the light of the world …

That our words might build up and point the way to life …

That our deeds might outlive us because of their goodness …

That our faithfulness would be pleasing in your sight, O LORD our God …

All of this, and more, we pray in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray, saying … Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name ...